Brown County Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Chris White (who will succeed Larry Lovrien as state’s attorney after the election), joins the state’s attorneys of Pennington and Minnehaha counties in condemning Amendment S, the “crime victims bill of rights,” as costly, unnecessary, and counterproductive to the interests of victims and justice.
In a letter to the editor in today’s print edition of the Aberdeen American News, White warns that Amendment S would spread county resources far too thin by extending and expanding notification requirements and other rights to victims of “nonviolent, misdemeanor crimes”:
For example, if someone steals a pack of gum from a major discount store, Amendment S will require the store receive the same victim services as the family of a murder victim. While the number of felony victims is relatively few in Brown County, the needs of these victims will be short-changed by thousands of misdemeanor cases covered by Amendment S [Chris White, letter to the editor, Aberdeen American News, 2016.10.23].
White also points out that, instead of helping victims get justice, the notification requirements of Amendment S could actually slow down the wheels of justice:
For example, if a person steals a pack of gum on Sunday night and wants to plead guilty monday morning, the strict requirements of Amendment S will likely prevent that from happening because victim notice requirements cannot be met. Prosecutors will be forced to request a continuance even though the defendant is ready and willing to plead guilty [White, 2016.10.23].
Don’t let Amendment S sponsors’ appeals to emotion blind you to the practical, negative impacts of this poorly written measure on the criminal justice system. Listen to the experts—in this case, prosecutors in South Dakota’s three biggest cities—and vote No on S.
Related: Beadle County’s Michael Moore is the only state’s attorney I’ve heard endorsing Amendment S. Davison County’s Jim Miskimins opposes S. That’s Mitchell, Aberdeen, Rapid City, and Sioux Falls prosecutors saying No on S, and only Huron’s saying Yes. Readers, can you add any others to the list?